I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be a member of the Clarion West class of 2016! I can hardly believe I’m writing these words. You may know that I’ve been trying to get into Clarion for a long time – six years, to be precise.
I received the top-tier rejection from Clarion West at least five of those times, and made the wait list for Clarion UCSD once. Every time that I got the rejection emails, I was crushed. I put so much hard work and emotional energy into my applications, and to be knocked back time and time again was so hard.
You know what, though? I’m nearly certain that I wouldn’t have made it in this year if I hadn’t tried all of those other times. Every single application was a step closer to this one. Every story I wrote helped me to get better at some aspect of the craft, and each round of applications introduced me to scores of other hopefuls who have gone on to get in (or not, yet) and to kick arse and take names in the SFF community. I don’t begrudge the previous applications for a second.
I guess this year was just my year?
If you’re reading this and you weren’t lucky enough to score a place this year – I am sorry. I’ve cried those tears, and I’ve felt that heartsick ache when new classes shout out their acceptances. Last year I had to physically leave my work to go sit in a park so I could messily cry for about an hour (although a lovely stranger did come to see if I was OK, so there’s proof that kindness still exists in the world). If you didn’t make it, I hope that you try next year, and again until you make it. It’s not silly or ridiculous to keep trying. KEEP TRYING. I hope with all of my heart that you make it someday, and I am always available for cheerleading and support if you want to reach out.
I also want to thank everyone who ever commiserated with me, and everyone who kindly reached out to me when I announced my rejections. Thank you to everyone who ever read and/or critiqued my work. A special thank you to Clarion instructors and students past and present, who have been so supportive and encouraging when I’ve talked over my desire to attend. Thank you to all of the writers and editors and agents out there who make up this awesome community, and who have cheered me on. Thanks to the Melbourne Clarion hopefuls (Sofie Bird in particular) for taking this journey with me, and for the tequila shots. Thanks to my friends and family for always supporting me, and for understanding that sometimes I need to go and write. Thanks to the UCSD Class of ’13, who have been so warm and lovely and wonderful.
And thank you to Eliza Tiernan, my darling love, whom I met trying to get into Clarion, who has been there and loved me, and who keeps refusing to read new drafts until I take the last round of critique seriously and actually put in more dialogue.
I made it. I MADE IT.